Spotlight On Osteopathy
What is osteopathy?
Osteopathic methods involve both diagnosis and the application of manual therapy during treatment sessions. The link between body structure and the way it functions underpins the holistic philosophy of osteopathy. Osteopaths focus on how the skeleton, muscles, ligaments, and connective tissue function smoothly as a holistic unit.
What are primary treatment modes?
Osteopathic examination may involve diagnostic orthopaedic or neurological tests, postural assessment, and passive or aggressive exercises that will help to best manage the patient’s condition. A wide range of non-invasive techniques may be applied during the appointment, such as deep and superficial soft tissue techniques, articulation and therapeutic stretching to relax stiff muscles and increases the joint’s range of motion. Patient education, pain management skills and information are important extras Phil includes in each osteopathic consultation.
What conditions can an osteopath treat?
- Back, neck and joint pain;
- sports related injuries;
- restricted mobility, caused by inflammatory or arthritic conditions;
- shoulder and arm issues;
- hip, pelvis and leg problems; and
- postural-related imbalances due to pregnancy, work or driving.
Do I need a referral from my GP?
While patients can be referred to an osteopath by their doctors, a referral is not necessary. Osteopaths are primary healthcare practitioners, and are trained to recognise conditions that require a medical referral. Osteopathy is covered by most private health funds and by Medicare’s Chronic Disease Management (CDM). Osteopaths are registered providers for worker’s compensation schemes as well as motor accident insurers.
What do I need to bring to an osteopathic appointment?
- Scans; and
- test results.
Depending on the body part/area being examined, it may be a good idea to bring gym shorts and a tee shirt to change into. It is important that you feel comfortable and the practitioner is able to access specific body locations at ease.
Is there science to support osteopathic treatment?
A case study by Adragna et al. (2015) examined a 50 year old patient, who suffered from a car accident injury in 1994 with mild head trauma. Upon admission to the hospital, they discovered signs and symptoms of fractures to the cervical spine, pelvis, knee, ulnar, radius, as well as a dislocated shoulder. During the patient’s stay at the hospital, she began to suffer from headaches. The patient was diagnosed with post-trauma headaches. The patient developed a permanent recurrent headache; 2-3 attacks per month for a period of 2-3 days, not always tolerated with pain killers.
Osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT) was applied and different techniques were applied depending on the somatic dysfunctions. Five treatments were performed; the first three were two weeks apart, the fourth after three weeks, and the fifth at a distance of one month.
Outcomes were measured by an HIT-6 scale (headache impact test) at the first and last treatment, as well as a quantitative evaluation of pain via the NPRS (numeric pain rating scale). Results of this case study demonstrated that OMT was found to have changed the impact of headache on the quality of life from important to minimal to no impact. One year following the last OMT treatment, the patient reported of having only two mild, headache episodes, lasting only one day and requiring no medication.
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Reference: Adragna V, Piazzola S, & Voi G. O054.Osteopathic manipulative treatment of headache in a polytrauma patient: a case report. J Headache Pain. 2015;16(Supp 1):A181. Doi: 10.1186/1129-2377-16-S1-A181.